skip to main content

Right Cover Image: Porous ceramics are playing an increasingly important role as high-temperature filters, catalyst supports, electrodes for batteries and fuel cells, and biomedical scaffolds. Shown here is porous silicon oxycarbide prepared in Professor Katherine Faber's laboratory by freeze casting a solution of a siloxane preceramic polymer with cyclohexane. By imposing a temperature gradient across the solution, phase separation ensues prior to cyclohexane directional freezing; the remaining polymer is compacted between the growing cyclohexane dendrites. The cyclohexane, now a sacrificial template, is removed via sublimation, and the polymer is pyrolyzed to produce a robust ceramic with pores the size and morphology of the cyclohexane dendrites that appear as dark X-shapes in the image. The image was taken using scanning electron microscopy perpendicular to the dendrite growth direction; pore sizes are approximately 20 micrometers.

Left Cover Image: This porous aluminum oxide was prepared in Professor Katherine Faber's laboratory by freeze casting aluminum oxide powder suspended in water. By imposing a temperature gradient across the slurry, water freezes, ejecting ceramic particles at the freezing front, where they are compacted between the freezing ice crystals. In contrast to the siloxane/cyclohexane described above, ice solidifies as lamellae, resulting in porous layers, rather than dendrites, which provide for easy flow. The image was taken perpendicular to the freezing direction using scanning electron microscopy; lamellar spacing is approximately 150 micrometers.


Message From The Chair

Ares Rosakis

Snap Shots
  • Transformational Impact: Resnick Sustainability Institute Enters Second Phase
  • International Space Leadership
  • Celebrating 20 Years: Control and Dynamical Systems at Caltech
  • Making the Computer Era Possible


Who's New

New Faculty
Moore Scholar

Alumni Profile

Furthering the Exploration Frontier: Robert Behnken

APhMS Feature

Strikingly Passionate
Applied Physics and Materials Science Faculty

Idea Flow

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Planes: Continuing GALCIT's Tradition of Excellence

Progress Report

The Tale of Two Lasers

Alumni Profile

Riding the Caltech Wave: Costas Synolakis

Campus Resource

Cultivating Entrepreneurship
The Caltech Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships


Trity Pourbahrami


Vicki Chiu


Leona Kershaw

Copy Editor

Sara Arnold

Contributing Writers

Jeff Mortimer

Image Credits

Front cover: Maninpat Naviroj (advisor: Katherine Faber)
pp. 2, 6 (Austin), 7 (Faber), 14–18, 20, 23–29, 31, 33, 35, 36, 39 (Bernardi), 42, 43 (Graff/Hirsch), 51: Vicki Chiu
p. 3: Courtesy of Foster and Coco Stanback
p. 4: Resnick: Vicki Chiu; International Space Leadership: Christine Ramirez
p. 5: CDS 20: Sydney Garstang; Carver Mead: Courtesy of the Archives, California Institute of Technology
p. 6: Courtesy of Domniki Asimaki
p. 7: Courtesy of Victoria Kostina
p. 8: Courtesy of Thomas Vidick; Courtesy of Yisong Yue
p. 9: Courtesy of Robert Braun
pp. 10–13: Courtesy of NASA
p. 14: Middle image courtesy of Paul Bellan
p. 19: Lance Hayashida
p. 21: Dr. Fabian Stolzenburg, working with Professor Katherine Faber
p. 22: Courtesy of Julia Greer
p. 30: Courtesy of Sandra Troian
p. 32: Briana Ticehurst
pp. 37–38: Courtesy of Oskar Painter
p. 39: Courtesy of Stevan Nadj-Perge
pp. 40–41, 43: Courtesy of Emilio Graff
pp. 44–45: Courtesy of Amnon Yariv
pp. 46–48: Courtesy of Costas Synolakis
Inside back cover (clockwise): Benny Chan Fotoworks; Vicki Chiu; Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects Back cover: Sarah M. Miller (advisor: Katherine Faber)